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13 May - COVID-19 News update

13 May 2020 1:18 PM | Tim Reynolds (Administrator)

COVID-19 selected news snippets for Wednesday, 13 May 2020.

The National Security Council (NSC) will meet again this afternoon, discussions will include:

  • Whether most contact professions, such as hairdressers and beauticians, can reopen.
  • Whether museums and zoos may also open again next week with appropriate measures (limited number of tickets per day etc).
  • Whether open-air markets can recommence and when.

For sports, resumption of activities will be phased. Last week the Jupiler Pro League decided not to restart before 31 July. For the amateurs, from 18 May, 12-year-olds will be allowed back on the field, and amateur teams of up to twenty players may also resume training with distance measures, but may not yet play matches.

From the beginning of June, indoor sports fans may resume training in pairs. From June 15 teams can also return to training again, subject to social distancing.

From August onwards, indoor and outdoor competitions will be allowed again, albeit with a maximum permitted audience of 2 000 people. Mass sports events may take place again by 1 September – virus permitting.

Sciensano update of 13 May. 202 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Belgium over the past 24 hours of which 19 (9%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 53 981 confirmed cases have been reported in Belgium with 5 504 (10%) cases located in Brussels.

In the past 24 hours, only 70 patients with COVID-19 have been hospitalised and 205 people left hospital. Between 15 March and 12 May, a total of 16 392 patients with COVID-19 have entered hospital and 13 937 people have left.

82 new deaths from COVID-19 in Belgium have been reported in the past 24 hours of which 12 (15%) were in Brussels. To date, a total of 8 843 deaths from the disease have been reported in Belgium of which 1 365 (15%) were in Brussels.

Currently 420 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units in Belgian hospitals.

Read the daily report (in French) here.

The WHO is cautiously positive about some corona treatments. While concrete scientific evidence is still lacking about which drug could cure COVID-19, WHO experts see certain treatments can shrink the severity of symptoms. (De Standaard)

The European Commission is preparing to present recommendations today to save the 2020 summer season for the European the tourism sector by encouraging European states to gradually and concertedly reopen their internal borders.

During the corona crisis, air quality in Europe has improved significantly according to calculations by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) that are confirmed by satellite observations.

The European Commission has given the green light to increase the maximum amount of the “corona loan” for companies to EUR 2 million. The loans are intended for start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs and the self-employed who are struggling with the consequences of the corona virus.

The Task Force, which is looking into medical supplies in the fight against the coronavirus, has ordered 2 million additional FFP2 masks in recent days, with 80,000 delivered.

Already 359 cured COVID-19 patients have volunteered to give plasma to the Red Cross.

Several doctors' organisations complain today that no triage centre has yet received the promised start-up funding. More than half of the Flemish triage centres have not yet received any payments.

In the Brussels municipalities of Etterbeek, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, residents and visitors are required to wear masks in busy centres.

TUI cuts 8000 jobs, 10% of their jobs worldwide.

The technology sector is gradually restarting. Where the average activity rate was 52.8% at the beginning of April, it has now risen to 75%.

Belgian companies are afraid that a second lockdown will ruin them completely, according to a survey conducted by employer organisation Voka among its members. The Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB) is trying to stop a new, general lockdown. Because that would be "a bloodbath".

Some 340 bus and coach companies responsible for collective passenger transport are today holding an "e-protest march on Brussels". In doing so, they ask the federal and regional governments for guarantees of their survival and clarity about the restart of their activities.

About 180,000 Belgians are in danger of losing their job, according to the latest survey by the Economic Risk Management Group (ERMG).

As a result of the corona crisis, activities in the construction sector are likely to decline by 10% in 2020.

A combination of strong wind and low demand due to the corona virus has caused negative electricity prices in Belgium.

98% of primary schools are preparing to restart on 15 May.

Coastal mayors will follow the guidelines of the NSC to keep second-residence owners out of their municipalities until June.

In Brussels, bus traffic is disrupted for the third day in a row. The metro is running normally, with trams also running, but at a reduced frequency.

Flanders public transport company De Lijn is threatened with strikes if not all buses are equipped with protection screens.

Brussels Airlines will reduce its fleet by 30% with thousands of jobs threatened. Belgium is prepared to pump up to EUR 390 million into Brussels Airlines if sufficient investments follow.

Barely 17 000 passengers flew last month via Zaventem, while the number of cargo flights increased by half.

Travelers to Spain will have to be quarantined from Friday for 14 days. Those placed in isolation may only come out to buy basic supplies or for medical care. Travel agencies and transport companies must inform their customers in advance about the rules. The measure will last until the end of the state of emergency in Spain, currently scheduled for 24 May.

In contrast, Ryanair wants to offer 1 000 flights a day from 1 July with flights resuming from Brussels and Charleroi. However, the company has announced that there will be job losses in Belgium.

Useful Links

Federal Government COVID-19 information

The Bulletin's COVID-19 webpage (updated daily)

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